Nearly half of businesses are unhappy with SAP application response times and one third are unhappy with SAP service availability, a study has revealed.
Most organisations cite cost reduction, efficiency improvement, availability and service quality among the top challenges they face.
Nearly all also recognise that SAP performance problems result in financial risk exposure, according to the study published in February.
Despite this, nearly 40% of more than 500 European and US IT directors polled admitted they do not have the ability to detect performance problems in real time.
Nearly half also said they cannot predict future performance and capacity issues related to SAP, according to the survey by analyst firm Pierre Audoin Consultants.
These factors are driving demand for SAP performance management projects, says Michael Allen, Compuware director of IT service management solutions, EMEA.
As SAP processes open up to customers and partners, organisations are realising a need to measure all users, transactions and requirements, and to improve system performance to protect revenue, brand and customer loyalty, he told Computer Weekly.
Chief information officers, he says, who have been "flying blind", want to put themselves back in the driving seat by getting visibility into all elements of their systems, including outsourced services, SAP's "blind spots", and thin clients.
The end user experience is typically that SAP is running slow, but often, says Allen, the problem is with other applications competing for bandwidth across the corporate WAN or with integrated legacy systems SAP is waiting on.
As organisations connect SAP to more systems, he says, they need deeper visibility into the application delivery chain to achieve a single source of truth that looks across all the different elements to quickly identify where the bottleneck is and resolve it.
However, says Allen, many organisations in Europe are not even aware that there are performance problems because they tend to manage performance by silo, and while each silo may appear to be working well, in concert there are performance issues.
"BT deployed end user performance visibility at one of its customers who did not feel they had a problem, yet deploying it they reduced the SAP response time by 43%," he says. At another company, greater visibility improved the service desk's first hour resolution rate from 25% to 80%.
With monitoring and visibility in place, says Allen, businesses can stop any degradation in service before it becomes a business issue.
"It allows organisations to get predictive and plan any investments that need to be made into further capacity or changes at the right time and to articulate those investments with the information to prove what impact it will have if those investments are not made," he says.
Better visibility can also help reduce licensing costs by enabling companies to renegotiate their contracts based on accurate usage patterns and requirements.
One Compuware customer was able to reduce SAP licence costs by $475,000 a year, says Allen, just through better visibility into when staff were using SAP.